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August 27 | Superintendent Letter

Hello VCSD Community,

The time is upon us. In under two weeks our next educational journey together will begin.

This year, unlike others, comes with new programs, initiatives, along with the stress that accompanies school and change.  The VCSD Counseling Department has generated a list of resources: "School Reopening Parent Resource List." We want parents to feel supported and equipped with the necessary knowledge to monitor and respond to their student's emotional needs. The upheaval and uncertainty that we are collectively experiencing has resulted in anxiety becoming more common than ever before. We hope the resource list is useful to you and your student. Please reach out to the School Counselor, School Social Worker, or School Psychologist for more specific questions or concerns regarding your student.  

https://docs.google.com/document/d14iab31AuYRpE3O7ZgKlskX5JveoONsYS5o5vmn1Upo/edit?usp=sharing

As we reopen schools in the next couple of weeks, I encourage students, young/old, and families to use the next two weeks to prepare for full-time mask-wearing.

Facemasks are one of the main aspects of limiting the spread of COVID-19. From the CDC, DOH, and medical directors, we know that face coverings are essential, but having these items become part of our new pandemic culture, especially for our younger learners, is not an easy task. Facemask wearing is a habit and needs to be cultivated. 

Please give children time to practice wearing their masks before they might need to wear one outside their home.

Teach them how to put them on and take them off. Create "mask times" during the day. Examples can be while students are playing board games, reading a book, utilizing an electronic device, etc.

Modeling is one of the most effective ways to teach children how to wear masks. But perhaps the two most important tools to utilize are:

  1. Use positive reinforcement when your child(ren) wears a mask. Use praise or small rewards.
  2. Be patient. Young children are looking for ways to be independent and may want to leave their masks on.

Encourage kids to decorate their masks. This might help them feel a sense of ownership and control over the situation. A personal touch can help make it more of a regular part of their routine, and make it more likely they'll want to wear their mask. 

Hand hygiene also helps to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please encourage proper hand hygiene with your children in the next couple of weeks before school begins.

Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of germs from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:

  • Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
  • Touch a contaminated surface or objects
  • Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people's hands or everyday objects

Voorheesville 7th grader Alara Crisafulli produced this informative handwashing video.

Last week, I sent out a letter regarding a shift in the reopening plan to set the foundations for a safe and instructional sound school year. The district will utilize a phased re-entry schedule for the in-person instruction during the first two student days of the school year (September 10th and 11th).

 

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With the reopening changes to school, it’s important  to mention the district's COVID Screen Attestation.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure to our workforce, we are conducting a simple screening. Your participation is essential to help us take precautionary measures to protect you and everyone in this facility. We request you complete this screening every day before entering a facility. Based on your response, you will be informed if you should report to work or enter our facilities. Elementary students/families should submit the form by 8am on days of attendance.  Grades 7-12 students/families should submit the form by 7am on days of attendance.  The building will run a report at 8 am and utilize our OneCall Now system to send an email, phone call, and text to remind families to submit the attestation (survey).

If your child is showing any of the following symptoms, they are not to report to school:

  • Fever or chills (temperature above 100.4)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or Body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If a child or staff member is exhibiting any of the symptoms while on premises, they will also be sent home ill.  The district is waiting for guidance, expected to come out this week, from the Department of Health that will articulate the length an individual will need to be out and what information is needed to return. 

The safety of the employees, students, families, clients, partners, and visitors remains our top priority.

You can access the COVID self-help assessment app here.

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Just a reminder, please remember to follow all social distancing protocols to keep our school community safe. In order for the school to support the health and safety of our community, we all must do our best to adhere to the guidelines. We are Voorheesville and together we will support one another.

Sincerely,

Frank Macri

Superintendent